Managing the Basin

Managing the Basin

In 2012 governments agreed there was a need for a plan to manage water and protect the Basin for future generations.

The Basin Plan manages the Basin as a whole connected system. This includes managing the Basin’s Groundwater. The Basin Plan balances the needs of towns, agriculture, industries and the Basin’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains.

Read about who has what role in managing the Basin.

Find Basin state and territory government departments, authorities and agencies.

Sustainable diversion limits

The Basin Plan sets new limits called sustainable diversion limits (SDLs). The SDL is a limit on how much water, on average, can be used for town water supplies, agriculture and industries in the Basin. The SDL has been set taking into consideration the needs of the towns, agriculture and industry, while also leaving enough water to keep the Basin’s rivers, wetlands and floodplains healthy.

Water resource plans

Water resource plans (WRPs) make sure that the SDLs are not exceeded over time. WRPs set rules to manage water at a local level. They cover:

  • compliance with sustainable diversion limits and water trade rules
  • protecting environmental water
  • Aboriginal values and uses
  • measuring and monitoring water usage
  • arrangements for extreme events.


The Basin Plan also covers:

  • new compliance arrangements for water use and trade
  • water recovered for the environment
  • Basin-wide delivery of environmental water
  • new water trade and market rules
  • developing and delivering infrastructure projects to achieve equivalent environmental outcomes, change water use practices and save water for the environment.

Map of the Murray–Darling Basin


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